This conversation isn’t new. For years the feminist movement has been criticized for its lack of ethnic and economic diversity. The Women’s March was supposed to solve all of that by re-working feminism in the image of a Hispanic woman, an African American woman and a Muslim woman in a hijab. The latest meme published through their Twitter account, however, still reeks of the upper-class white woman syndrome the pussyhats (most of whom are upper-class white women) were hoping to leave behind.
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) February 9, 2017
Titled #WhyIResist, the meme lists a series of criticisms received by an average woman, including:
- You just haven’t found the right man
- She’s hormonal
- You’re too fat to wear that
Below the complaints the picture reads: “Nevertheless she persisted,” a shout-out to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was recently silenced on the Senate floor for “impugning a peer” (not for lying about her Native American ancestry, or lack thereof). The concept of the picture is clear: These criticisms sum up the battle women fight on a daily basis in America. The problem is that it makes American women, and the feminist movement at large, once again look like a bunch of over-privileged chicks obsessing over essentially meaningless microagressions.
To put the meme into historical context, the original feminists fought for the right to divorce abusive husbands, retain custody of their children in said divorces, and for the right to vote. Today, feminists around the globe fight against female genital mutilation, child marriage, sex slavery and sex-selective abortion. The Women’s March, on the other hand, is fighting against catcalls and being called fat.
Statements like “calm down” and “relax,” which these women most likely hear fairly often, more due to the absurd nature of their complaints than the vitriol with which they are delivered, are listed as reasons to “persist” and “resist.” Persist to resist what, exactly? What action has been taken to strip women of their legal rights in this country? Who has passed the “Girls Can’t Do That” bill? Adding to the hypocrisy is the fact that a president who sexually objectifies women wasn’t a reason to “persist and resist” in the ’90s. His own wife didn’t even resist when she found out that he had an affair in the Oval Office and lied about it under oath. Are we all supposed to take up the mantle of victimhood because she lost an election?
Victimhood is really the only thing holding the Women’s March together. The fact that they can’t get their head around an actual feminist cause renders the movement nothing more than one big group therapy session convening online and on a street corner near you. This does nothing to address the actions of the Trump administration, let alone address real feminist causes in America and abroad. To paraphrase the great Martin Niemoller:
First they came for Oprah, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an Oprah watcher.
Then they came for the Eat, Pray, Love brigade, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert.
Then they came for me—and because I was a Muslim woman living under sharia law; a Jewish woman who identified as a Zionist; an African-American single mother; an Indian girl being sold into sex slavery; a Chinese female fetus, no one knew how to speak for me.